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Thread: Mapplethorpe

  1. #11
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brucemuir View Post
    2fer,
    I think what he means is...

    If you view Mapes work as obscene tripe masquerading as art will most think you have no artistist vision and are a redneck from some Tea Party state.

    That's what I'm getting but I could be wrong.
    thanks.

    I don't know the answer to the question on a large scale. I wouldn't worry about it. Just react to the work in your own way. Nobody will crucify you for your beliefs. And if they do, fuggem all anyhow.

    I personally think that anyone who simply passes him off as a pornographer 1) isn't looking very deeply at the particular work in question, and 2) doesn't really know anything about his entire body of work. I don't know if that means they are uncool, though. Probably just very "mainstream."

    I think the work in question was very masterfully done on a technical level, and thus quite subversive given the content of the famous lawsuit pictures. It applied a very classical and proficient technical style to the subject matter of an underground subculture. Making subject matter most people are uncomfortable with look so gosh-darned beautiful is an art in itself, I think. And that doesn't even go into the deeper concepts of his work.

    This being said, you owe it to yourself to explore his entire body of work more comprehensively if all you think of when you hear his name is the homo-erotic nude pictures. He mostly did commercial work of outstanding technical quality. He did tons of still lifes, portraits, and standard (non-erotic) nudes. He was a prolific self portrait artists as well. In fact, I would argue that this was his forte, and that most of his work relates to his own identity in a way.

    And also, if you think his flowers are just flowers, take a closer look, and think about what flowers really are, biologically speaking.

    And it is Patti Smith who was close friends with Mapplethorpe. Patti Hansen is Keith Richards' wife.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  2. #12
    tomalophicon's Avatar
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    Well said 4F.

  3. #13
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    I haven't looked at my Mapplethorpe book for years, but remember the photography as well done. Some of this was due to the camera work, and some to the printing. If he did the darkroom work too, he was certainly good. His choice of subjects sometimes seems intentionally shocking. He wouldn't be the first artist to use this for self-promotion.

  4. #14

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    I think you might mean Patti Smith, not "Pati Hansen".

    He was a good technician certainly, but I dodge the question by considering all his homoerotic images to be, not Art, but reportage. I find Joel Peter Witkin to be more "artistic" because his images have more to say to me than Mapplethorpe's. I just wish I knew what it was.

    Smith has a book out ("Just Kids" I think) about her early years with Mapplethorpe. Apparently she mentions Mapplethorpe's affection for Rodinal in that narrative. (And if you're of a mind to, "Horses" is the album to listen to; Patti Smith Group at the height of its powers.)

  5. #15
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by semi-ambivalent View Post
    (And if you're of a mind to, "Horses" is the album to listen to; Patti Smith Group at the height of its powers.)
    One of the most important albums to me. Pure genius in my eyes, especially considering the environment in which it was released.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  6. #16
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones View Post
    He wouldn't be the first artist to use this for self-promotion.
    I don't view it as self promotion at all, or as intentionally shocking or the sake of garnering an extreme reaction. It's more like self portraiture to me. He was providing a window into a world (his world) that was pretty-much totally off the public's radar. The homo-erotic nudes are more like "hobby" or "lifestyle" photography to me. Some people photograph their cats or their car club or their hobby. He photographed the human body as it related to a specific subculture. He did not make that stuff to further his career...and if he did, it was not a wise career choice. He was a sought-after commercial photographer, regardless of his personal work. His commercial fame gave him the fame to present his personal work, not the other way around.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  7. #17
    Two23's Avatar
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    I don't care for his homo stuff at all, and view it as gross.


    Kent in SD

  8. #18
    M.A.Longmore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnielvis View Post
    he woudn't have amounted to much if he wasn't sam wagstaff's "boy"....wagstaff set him up with equpment, space, darkroom services--finest in the world--and heavy duty connections in the art world and also celebrity/rich folks connections.

    Wagstaff got maplethorpe's stuff shown because he threw around a LOT of money in galleries...he was rich rich rich.
    .
    When I was a youngster, Clyde Muir, father of my best friend John.
    Tried to explain to me :
    " That it's not what you know. It's who, you know "

    I was only thirteen years old, and would argue with him for hours !

    Mr. Muir, Was Right ...

    Ron
    .

  9. #19
    tomalophicon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnielvis View Post
    dude, depending on your fetish ANYTHING is porn---underwear ads, when we were kids, was porn and used as such.....some dudes use shoe ads in glam mags...nudity is optional in porn.

    some mapplethorpes do show hardcore sex acts--porn?

    at any rate--I used to think his stuff was great and then I found out that he didn't do any of the printing---only the best printers did the darkroom work---just popped pics by the bajillions and had someone else sort them out and "make them perfect"....found this out AFTER I thought his stuff was good....

    that being said--they are quality images a lot of them and pleasing to look at--what else would you expect from the best professional darkroom techs work to look like?

    he woudn't have amounted to much if he wasn't sam wagstaff's "boy"....wagstaff set him up with equpment, space, darkroom services--finest in the world--and heavy duty connections in the art world and also celebrity/rich folks connections.

    Wagstaff got maplethorpe's stuff shown because he threw around a LOT of money in galleries...he was rich rich rich.
    Elvis,
    I'm more impressed by his lighting, the way he poses his models, his sense of shapes and harmony within a picture frame and the general aesthetic of his work than I am with the printing, though it is very good, obviously.

  10. #20
    Ottrdaemmerung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnielvis View Post
    some mapplethorpes do show hardcore sex acts--porn?
    As far as I'm aware, the Mapplethorpe photographs I've seen show no explicit sexual acts whatsoever, and flipping through my copy of his largest book (Mapplethorpe) bears this out -- although some of them do indeed show the erect male anatomy. As 2F/2F stated earlier, the vast majority of his work consists of portraits and still lifes. If one defines pornography as intending to elicit sexual arousal, then pretty much none of his work would qualify.

    I'd suggest that anyone curious about his work visit their local library for:
    The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Mapplethorpe, Random House, ©1992.
    Richard Marshall, Robert Mapplethorpe, Whitney Museum of American Art/Bulfinch Press, ©1988.
    Or, if you prefer to not see any of his controversial photographs at all, books and calendars are plentiful that feature only his more mundane subjects.
    website | Flickr
    "Embrace the negative with absolution, your final positive reward." --IQ, "The Province," Frequency

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